Posted On Friday, May 11, 2012 at 03:08:43 AM
Pune: Royal Challengers, who got back their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with a convincing win against Mumbai Indians, will be looking to strengthen their position when they take on Pune Warriors in their away game here Friday.
The last time the two teams met, Royal Challangers, chasing 183 runs won by six wickets with AB de Villiers staring with a with 14- ball 33 (2x4, 3x6). De Villiers, the second highest run scorer for Bangalore with 292 runs from 12 games and Chris Gayle, the Orange Cap holder with 515 runs in 11 games, have the potential to rip apart Pune Warriors bowling attack.
On the other hand, Pune Warriors, whose chances of qualifying for the play-offs are all but over, now only have to play for pride. Pune Warriors started their campaign well with two consecutive wins against Mumbai and Kings XI Punjab later lost their way and never recovered.
They have lost nine of 13 games under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. With the addition of Australian captain Michael Clarke (72 runs from four matches) and the return of Ashok Dinda (nine wickets from seven games) from injury have failed to rejuvenate the side.
Robin Uthappa (353 runs from 13 games) and Steven Smith (301 runs from 13 games) are in good form but Ganguly has been a disaster. Dropping New Zealand southpaw Jesse Ryder (233 runs from nine matches) hurt Pune the most with openers constantly failing to give the side a good start.
Pune who finished ninth in the 2011 IPL season will look to win the remaining matches and lift themselves in the point tally.
Another twist on Dada’s future
Sourav Ganguly will no longer be the captain of Pune Warriors in Indian Premier League and will serve only as the team’s mentor, putting an end to intense speculation over the struggling batsman's fate following a string of poor results.
Ganguly's future role in the team was spelt out by franchise owner Subrata Roy who said that the veteran batsman wants to remain in the team as mentor only. “Sourav will be the mentor next season. We rather pushed him to play in IPL 5 as he is such a fantastic captain,” Roy said.
The Warriors are already out of the race for the play-offs berth and Roy said Ganguly would like to sit out the team's last three matches for the youngsters’ sake.
“Sourav wants to give youngsters a chance in the last games,” Roy said.
Ganguly has been under the scanner for his failure as a batsman in the current edition of IPL while the team's below-par show has also put a question mark on his waning leadership skills. Pune have lost nine of their 13 matches in the league so far. “I did not want to be the captain but was asked to do so. Now I want to give chance to youngsters,” Ganguly said.
After a decent start, Ganguly has gone through a lean patch both as a batsman and skipper and his captaincy of late has been a subject of speculation. Roy, however, came to the Dada’s defence. “Ganguly is a fine captain, our team lacked good Indian talent,” the owner said.